ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, March 3, 2006 – As part of a continuing effort to protect children and keep them safe, the Diocese of Rockville Centre has initiated a new partnership with the inter-faith community on Long Island called “Partners in Protection.” The collaboration will allow the diocese to work jointly with other faiths on Long Island to focus on the common goal of protecting children from sexual abuse. The objective is to strengthen the response to child sexual abuse and reduce such incidents through dialogue and the sharing of protection efforts and experiences within the inter-faith community.
This concept developed out of a conversation between Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Eileen Puglisi, the director of the Diocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Young People. “People with the intention of hurting children are not going to limit their actions to Catholic kids,” said Puglisi. She added, “Many congregations have been dealing with this issue and there is a lot we can learn from talking with each other.”
After contacting the Long Island Council of Churches and the Long Island Board of Rabbis, a meeting was held in July 2005. It was chaired by the Reverend Barbara Meltzer who has been involved in dealing with clergy and laity child sexual abuse issues in the Methodist denomination. The first step of developing a database of congregations interested in participating in the program is currently underway.
The Office for the Protection of Children and Young People in the Diocese of Rockville Centre oversees a number of initiatives, including the “Protecting God’s Children” workshops to train all those working in the Church to recognize the warning signs of potential problems, conducting criminal background checks of all diocesan personnel, and the distribution of publications, among them the diocesan Child Protection Policy manual detailing reporting procedures of allegations and ministering to survivors of abuse.
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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.3 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 20,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 20,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,137 students in Catholic kindergarten, 23,825 in primary or elementary school, 12,628 in secondary school and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 76 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home-care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 80,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. For more information, visit www.drvc.org.
For more information Contact:
Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
516-678-5800, ext. 625